Today it?s referred as the old plastic but all credit
card buffs know that the first credit cards were not
made of plastic but cellulose and metal plates.
Encyclopedia Britannica documents that, the use of
credit cards originated in the United States during
the 1920s, when individual firms, such as oil
companies and hotel chains, began issuing them to
Also, in the 1920's, stylish stores in the United
States issued them to their favorite customers.
So at that time they were highly localized in
acceptance. So if you lived in Los Angeles you
couldn't use your credit card in Chicago.
But credit cards gained nationwide usage after the
likes of Henry Ford gave the world mass produced
automobiles. The ability to travel across America had
the unintended consequence of popularizing the credit
The 1950?s saw the founding of the Diners Club, which
now is one of the biggest credit card companies
Its founder, Mr. Frank McNamara probably was surprised
the way his start up turned out to be.
The card was first intended to enable Diners customers
to have their meals without paying for them, and
Diners club would foot the bill. The customers then
would repay Diners Club.
In 1951, Bank of America, encouraged by Diners
success, started a card that is now called VISA. And
other California banks started their card which later
became MasterCard. The American Express made its debut
At that time, the banks realized that the card
business was a mass market business, and they later
began mailing anyone with address (some of them dead)
offering the new found craze.